If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, and the science proves it. People who plan ahead and visualize have far greater success than those who don’t. Olympic athletes do it, doctors do it, and even successful students do it. It’s especially true for people on health programs, yet most do not do it. Studies have shown that people actively trying to lose weight are more successful when they start journaling. And it turns out they are more successful in all areas of their health programs.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published one such revealing study, which included 1,685 overweight or obese people, ages 25 and older. For 6 months, they kept journals. After six months, they lost about twice as much weight as those who didn’t have a journal or they did but they only wrote in it one day a week or less. Here are a few reasons why:
- Writing about traumatic or stressful events and your deepest feelings and emotions boosts your emotional and physical health and sense of well-being. This is especially true for men. They often tend to keep things bottled up. Journaling provides an excellent outlet to let go of those things that are bothering or worrying us.
- Journaling helps turn bad days into good data. When you journal you reveal the reasons behind the behavior. This gives most people clarity and allows them to begin to correct negative behaviors.
- You reveal patterns about your behavior. If you always seem to binge at the same time of day, or in the same place you can begin see the pattern clearly and change your behavior. For example, if you always binge while watching your favorite show, don’t eat in front of the television. Try to drink tea instead. Or if you always find yourself eating candy after a stressful meeting at work, make sure you have cut veggies on hand and try to go for a walk or run the stairs.
You Plan Out Your Schedule, But Do You Plan Out Your Meals?
Journaling after you eat something increases your success by up to fifty percent compared to people who don’t. But journaling and planning the day before actually increases your chances of success by fifty percent compared to people who don’t plan ahead. There’s a difference between journaling what you have already done, and what you are going to do. It’s planting the seeds of intention. Intention is the visualization piece of journaling and it is the most powerful part.
Now you may think planning out your meals for the next day is too much trouble, and that it isn’t necessary, but as Dr. Phil likes to say, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Murphy’s Law states: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” And many times, it can go so horribly wrong, so horribly fast, if you do not plan. Brain Warriors don’t give in to chance. Brain Warriors plan. And even when things do go wrong, they find a way to make the most of it and make the best choices possible. Brain Warriors do NOT just give in because things didn’t go their way!
You don’t have to journal forever unless you want to. This is just in the beginning until you have total control. By taking just a few minutes each day to work with this journal, you will be making the habit of healthy living integral to your everyday life. Each night, I want you to write down in the journal what you plan to eat the next day. You can also journal your plans for exercise and other habits.
Then the next day you can write down if you followed through or not. If you didn’t, I want you to pay attention to when you were weakest, why you didn’t follow through, and what were the obstacles. You’ll start to see a pattern. What’s it telling you? Your pattern shapes you into the kind of person you are. Think about it.
As I’ve said, your genes are not necessarily your destiny—but your destiny is in your hands! You’ve got to take control and make major changes. If you’re having trouble getting started you don’t need to do it alone. Having a community to help guide you can make all the difference. Join our tribe that will help you empower yourself starting right now.